HISTORY OF WING CHUN
Wing Chun was first introduced to the public in 1949 with the arrival of Grand Master Yip Man in Hong Kong. Despite a competitive landscape of many martial arts in the city of Hong Kong, the popularity of Wing Chun grew. As the city of Hong Kong goes through its own industrial revolution and its population sky rocket, people had to adopt to living and working in tight spaces. So it is no surprise that people in Hong Kong were especially fond of the effectiveness of Wing Chun, and its applicability in close quarter combat. Yip Man's two most senior students, Leung Sheung and Lok Yiu were particularly popular among blue collar workers.
WHAT IS WING CHUN
Wing Chun (詠春) is a southern Chinese martial art style. Wing Chun is characterized for the emphasis of Straight Line principle, integrating the position, sensitivity and energy. The WC system training consists of:
First Set (小念頭)All the basic hand movements used in Wing Chun Kuen are contained in Siu Nim Tao. This is the foundational form which teaches proper mechanics and hand positions without leaving the Yee Jee Kim Yang Ma (二字鉗羊馬) or "Character two goat clamping stance". The stance is called such because when in it, the practitioner's toes will be at a shorter distance to each other than the heels, thus resembling the Chinese character two. Siu Nim Tao translates into "little idea" which refers to the neutral state of simplicity maintained throughout the practice of the form. One should not "over do it". On the contrary, this form teaches the student how to relax into the correct posture and practice settling their energy downwards toward the ground. The calm mental training develops "Nim Lik" (念力), which means "thought strength", referring to the intent guiding the movements. Fundamental rules of balance and body structure are developed in this form. Proper practice of Siu Nim Tao enables the student to develop proper abdominal breathing, independent arm movement, structure and energy. When practicing Siu Nim Tao, the eyes should be fixed forward taking in everything while focusing on nothing.During Siu Nim Tao practice, the student:Trains the stance and structural mechanicsDefines the centerline and learns where their hands should be relative to itLearns proper positioning and how to execute movements correctlyTrains coordination and relaxationDevelops knee cap energy, elbow energy, and long bridge energy Structural Guidelines: Kim Sut (鉗膝) knees in; lit. "squeeze/press knees"Lok Ma (落馬) lower/settle down in the stanceTing Yiu (挺腰) tuck the hips under and forward; lit. "straighten lower back"Dung Tao (登頭) head erectMai Jarn (埋肘) elbows in; lit. "bury elbow"By keeping the stance still throughout the whole set, the student will maintain a stable state to return to while executing the techniques, learning how to develop and apply elbow and knee energy correctly.Second Set (尋橋)Chum Kiu is the second of three open-hand forms of Wing Chun Kuen. In order to begin the second set, the legs and knees must be trained via the first set to be able to put the body weight on one leg. Once the proper body structure from Siu Nim Tao is trained, the student can then learn how to move that structure by turning and stepping. The "Chum" in "Chum Kiu" can be represented by two different characters in Cantonese. When 沉 is used the form translates to "sinking the bridge." If the character 尋 is used then it translates to "seeking the bridge." The bridge refers to contact with the opponent's limb. In this form, one focuses on developing the long bridge energy, which is a deep, long and lasting forward energy towards the opponent. Fundamental rules of footwork and body unity while moving are introduced and developed in this form. The form introduces turning, the small step, and kicking.Third Set (標指)Biu Jee is the third of three open-hand forms of Wing Chun Kuen. Biu Jee builds upon and refines the technical and structural training of the first two sets. In some circles Biu Jee is known as the "emergency set" as its techniques diverge from the centerline and can be seen as guidelines on what to do if your structure is compromised. In other words, it teaches how to "return to the center". Biu Jee" (標指) literally means "darting fingers" and refers to the way the form trains the practitioner to project energy through the fingertips. Advanced footwork is taught in this form. The footwork of Biu Jee is more circular in nature and teaches how to close the gap as well as sweeps. This form also has more emphasis on shoulder and hip opening/rotation. After this form the student traditionally can begin learning the wooden dummy form (木人樁).Chi Sau (黐手)Chi Sau / 黐手(lit. “sticky hands”) are the core exercises in Leung Sheung Wing Chun used for the development of contact sensitivity, coordination of the limbs, forward energy, timing and the ability to "stick" to the opponent. It also provides the Wing Chun practitioner an opportunity to test the movements from the forms against pressure. During Chi Sau, the proper stance, five points and other principles are kept in mind. Chi Sau is central to the Yip Man Wing Chun system. As grandmaster Yip Man said, “No Chi Sau, No Wing Chun.” The Leung Sheung method of Chi Sau develops skill in “Mo Zhang Dai” or “Touching the base of the elbow”, which allows the practitioner to contain the opponent’s energy by touching their elbows. Chi Sau teaches how to react appropriately to the opponents energy while maintaining the proper structure and relaxation. Training under pressure, the student should neither be afraid of getting hit, nor be overly eager to hit their opponent. Chi Sau ingrains into the neuro-muscular system the mindset of accepting and sticking with the opponent’s energy. After a short time, trained sensitivity allows one to act without conscious thought or the necessity of seeing the opponent’s hands. Dan Chi Sau （單黐手） - Single sticky hands; this drill trains basic movements on one arm.Seung Chi Sau （双黐手） - Double sticky hands; this drill trains both arms to move independently of each other.Besides the two Chi Sau exercises, other hand drills in the Leung Sheung method include Lop Kuen, Pak Sau, Poon Sau and others. Rather than fighting, Chi Sau is a learning process that gives two practitioners the opportunity to test and explore each other's strengths and weaknesses. Once the practitioner has become well trained in Chi Sau, they can use the skills gained to freestyle "spar" outside of the Chi Sau format. During sticking hands practice it is important to remember the Wing Chun maxim: "Greet what arrives, escort what leaves and rush upon loss of contact," or in Chinese: ”來留去送，甩手值沖“ Besides sticking hands, there is also a sticky legs exercise or “Chi Gerk” （黐腳）. In this drill, the ankle functions as the wrist, the knee as the elbow, and the hip as the shoulder. Chi Gerk enables the practitioner to develop the sensitivity in the legs for sweeps, redirections and counter kicks. In Wing Chun, arms deal with arms, legs deal with legs (腳打腳).Wooden Dummy (木人樁)The modern slat mounted version of the wooden dummy was designed by Yip Man. It is designed to remind the student of how the first three sets work, and verifies the proper use of the first three sets. The MYJ is a sequence of approximately 100 techniques/"hands." The entire sequence is further divided into 10 sets of 10 "hands" for the sake of transmission. Several features of the wooden dummy are noteworthy: The wooden dummy arms are designed to restrict the movements and force the student to learn to deal with the hindrance.In particular, the right arm of the dummy is placed higher than the left, forcing the student to work the left arm a bit more than the right.The wang dam (橫擔) --- the horizontal slats supporting the dummy --- flex causing the student to learn to absorb the bounce back of the dummy toward the student after striking the dummy.Practicing the wooden dummy is done with several principles in mind: Place the dummy in front of you so that it will "stick hands" with you.Be precise with the stepping, positioning, energy, and timing. The dummy is not attacking, so one can afford to move correctly and smoothly, with no need to feel rushed or pressured.Do not move the legs further than needed; do not take big steps. After all, the dummy is still.Connect (連), embrace(抱), and engage(食) the dummy and try to avoid the temptation to bang into it with brutal forces and excessive speed.Training correctly with the wooden dummy accomplishes certain training goals: Teach the student how the small step works.Builds the student's structure, especially the knee and elbow energy and the unity of the body.The dummy serves as an important training tool after departure from one's teacher (離師) or no hands (冇手)-absence of a live training partner; so that one can maintain one's skill. However, skill development requires touching live hands.Weapons (棍,刀)In the Leung Sheung line, the weapons and empty hand sets mutually aid each other through a consistent set of well conceived principles and training methodologies. Upon adoption into Wing Chun, the pole set was distilled and refined to blend with the core hand sets in a harmonious manner. Pole training introduces the lower, wider stance and sideways advancing footwork which is different from Wing Chun's normal structure and forward facing strategy. The saying "側身以膊為子午" (use shoulder as center line when side facing) becomes evident during pole exercises. The preparatory exercise of the six and a half point pole resembles Hung Gar's chain arrow punch combination in snapshot view. The execution sequence and mechanics of movement are very different, however; Wing Chun exclusively emphasizes elbow-knee propulsion rather than Hung Gar's shoulder-waist-hip rotation. Due to the length of the pole, good horse-elbow-grip stability is the most important aspect for one to achieve (ideally) perfect control of the pole tip. The Wing Chun eight chopping knife set does not train "blade flipping" "反手刀" like some other Southern style butterfly knife styles. Flipping of the wrists during execution of the knife movements is discouraged. Wrist strength should be developed through Biu Jee and pole training before working with the knives, and a set of preparatory exercises must be practiced before learning the techniques. Many knife techniques have a one-to-one relationship with empty hand movements. In general, the stance is a little wider and footwork practiced a bit quicker than in the other sets of Wing Chun. This correlates to the Kung Fu saying "雙刀看走" (double-knives-watch-running). In translation, this means that good performance with the double knives depends on lively footwork; thus the knives set places increased emphasis on footwork agility and the ability to close the gap. Elbow-knee and finger-palm unity must all come into play within the knife set.First Set (小念頭)Second Set (尋橋)Third Set (標指)Chi Sau (黐手)Wooden Dummy (木人樁)Weapons (棍,刀)x
LEUNG SHEUNG LINEAGE OF WING CHUN
Master Leung Sheung (1918-1978) was a well known teacher of many Chinese martial arts styles in the 1940's. When the infamous Grand Master Yip (Ip) Man (1893-1972) arrived in Hong Kong in 1949 after the Chinese Civil War, Leung Sheung met with Yip Man through a mutual friend.
Upon meeting Yip Man, Leung Sheung was quickly convinced of the superiority of Wing Chun. Leung Sheung relinquished all the other styles he invested years of work in, and began studying Wing Chun as Yip Man's first student in Hong Kong.
With years of devotion and sacrifice, Leung Sheung became a widely recognized Wing Chun master and one of the most popular Wing Chun teacher in the 1960's. One of Leung Sheung's many students in the 1960's is Sifu Kenneth Chung.
Sifu Kenneth Chung began his training as a teenager in Leung Sheung's school. With devotion and hard work, Kenneth Chung quickly became one of Leung Sheung's best student. In 1968, Sifu Kenneth Chung went to California to study in college. With the intention of seeking work out partners, he met up with a few local martial arts practicioners in the area.
Impressed with Sifu Kenneth Chung's skills, they invited him to teach them Wing Chun. So Sifu Kenneth Chung started teaching Wing Chun in California. After graduation, Sifu Kenneth Chung returned to Hong Kong and continued his Wing Chun training with Master Leung Sheung. In the mid 1970's, Sifu Kenneth Chung returned to California and has been teaching Wing Chun ever since.
HOUSTON WING CHUN ASSOCIATION
The Houston Wing Chun Association was founded in 1991 to promote and teach Leung Sheung Wing Chun.
Started in 1968, Sifu Kenneth Chung (Chung Maan Nin) began teaching Leung Sheung Wing Chun in California. Sifu Kenneth Chung's legacy continues to grow through out the United States, and now there are branches in California, Washington, Florida, New York, Ohio, Texas, Shanghai and Singapore.
During a martial art tournament held in Houston, Texas on labor day weekend of 1990, Mr. Humphrey Wong (lead instructor of Houston Wing Chun Association) and a few other founding members invited Sifu Kenneth Chung to start teaching in Houston, Texas.
From there, Sifu Kenneth Chung has been hosting quarterly workshops in Houston, Texas for over 20 years.
Classes are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7:30 PM TO 9:00 PM
Dress attire is white t-shirt with black kung-fu pants and kung-fu slippers
We offer the first 3 classes for potential students to try out for free. After that, class fee is $80 per month. We collect the 1st and 2nd month fees when you commit to joining the class.
Mandatory workshops are twice a year for $200 per workshop
Please print a copy of the liability waiver, sign it and bring it to class with you
Classes held at Houston Gymnastics Academy
(5804 South Rice Avenue, Houston, TX 77081)
We are not directly associated with the Houston Gymnastic Academy. So many of the staff there are not familiar with us.
Please come in through the front door. Take an immediate right down the narrow hallway, and go pass the door. You will see the entrance to our room on the right (It is the northwest corner of the building). There is a wooden dummy by the entrance.
Classes are led by John and Lau
Class members training for 5 - 10 years assist new practitioners to develop their skills
Workshops usually held 2 to 3 times annually on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30 AM - 6:30 PM
Cost is $200
Next workshop scheduled for April 1 & 2, 2017
Houston Wing Chun Association